"Our tests so far indicate that KU-32 is completely nontoxic and is absorbed in the blood stream very well," said Blagg. "It has long-term efficacy. It is a promising treatment."
There are only two FDA-approved drugs used for treatment of DPN, Blagg said. However, one is an anticonvulsant and the other is an antidepressant, and neither has the potential to reverse nerve degeneration.
The research, funded by grants from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, is ongoing. The team is hoping to discover how long the drug can be effective in combating DPN. People often find out they have diabetes when they are suffering from the nerve-degenerating condition.
"The idea is to try to determine at what point in nerve degeneration will be most effective and at what point the drug will not be efficacious," Dobrowsky said. "We'd like to know at what stage in the progression of DPN a window of opportunity exists for the beneficial use of KU-32."
The researchers also hope to determine exactly how the drug stopped and reversed DPN in mice. It's not immediately evident if it improved existing nerve fibers or generated new ones.
The drug is still in pre-clinical development. It will likely need another year or two of study, then the researchers hope it could be advanced to clinical trials in humans.
Dobrowsky said the collaboration of researchers with different areas of expertise was key to the study.
"This is an excellent example of how collaboration allows us to achieve one of the School of Pharmacy'
|Contact: Mike Krings|
University of Kansas